This Reddit Family Rift Was Cemented By a Cat’s Birthday Party & No, We’re Not Kidding
Setting clear boundaries and expectations is essential in any relationship, whether they’re about who cooks dinner during the week or what counts as cheating. When it comes to open relationships, the rules you and your partner(s) set in place might be even more important. In open relationships, both partners have agreed that they can have sex with other people, but how you define sex and all the rules around it are totally up to you and your partner. Can you hook up with a mutual friend? Is it OK to have an emotional connection with someone you’re seeing outside your partner? Are there any sex acts you’re not OK with your partner doing with someone else?
Defining those boundaries and sticking to them is what helps make an open relationship successful — you have to know you can trust your partner to adhere to your boundaries, and them to yours. But what about when that doesn’t happen? One couple on Reddit is finding out.
In the post, the OP (aka the person who wrote the post) is the husband in the relationship, and he explains up front that his wife “has a way higher libido than I do.” They agreed to have an open marriage with a few specific rules attached. OP says he’s been fine with the arrangement, but his wife recently broke a major rule, and it’s led to some serious friction. He took to Reddit’s Am I the Asshole forum for advice, and Reddit was more than happy to provide. Keep reading for the full story.
OP and his wife (31 and 32, respectively) agreed early on that an open relationship is best given their differences in libido — hers being “way higher.”
“Even before we got married, we figured out that I could never fully satisfy her,” OP explains. In order to feel “happy and satisfied” in their relationship, “we decided to have an open marriage, meaning that my wife will hook up with dudes she meets on dating apps provided she informs me whenever she does so, mostly for safety reasons.”
That’s not the only rule OP and his wife agreed on. They also decided that the people his wife hooks up with “shouldn’t be considered boyfriends,” because their only purpose is to “satisfy her sexually,” he explains. They’re also very clear that they’re not “in a position to enter a polyamorous relationship, especially considering we have an 18 month old child.” Relatedly, they agreed that these men wouldn’t be brought into their home — the hook-ups would occur elsewhere.
The day before posting, OP says, he came home from picking their daughter up from daycare and “could hear my wife was having sex in our bedroom.” He writes, “This made me instantly feel uneasy, since we had set up the rules for a reason and this was in clear violation of them.”
OP waited until his wife’s partner had left before going to speak with her, at which point she “instantly got defensive,” he says. “[She] said I was suffocating her and claimed that there’s no real difference between hooking up here or elsewhere and made the argument that booking a hotel — which she sometimes has to do — is a waste of money when we have a perfectly good house of our own.” OP replied that he didn’t feel comfortable with a strange man being in their house, and that his feelings should be taken into account as well.
Then the conversation started to get out of hand. “She for some reason started talking about the fact that I’m circumcised and that that’s the reason I couldn’t satisfy her, when this had never been an issue in the past. This spiraled into a huge argument after which she suggested a divorce. I was stupid and said that if she couldn’t handle not having sex with people other than me then maybe we should indeed consider a divorce. She then stormed out and slept the night at her parents’ house.”
OP wrapped up the post by admitting he “made some dumb comments,” but doesn’t think he’s in the wrong for “ calling her out for clearly violating rules we had specifically set up to avoid situations like these.” Still, with his wife now “seriously threatening me with divorce,” he asked Reddit if he crossed a line.
Reddit’s opinion was pretty straightforward: OP is not in the wrong here. “She is the one who violated your boundaries, not the other way around,” the top-rated comment summed it up.
Other commenters pointed out that OP’s wife went so far as to bring the man into their bed. “The level of disrespect,” one person said. “She then tries pinning it on you and blaming you. You worked for a compromise to ensure she was satisfied and yet she threw a random thing in your face that has nothing to do with satisfying her.”
Plenty of Redditors thought that OP should get out of the marriage, or at least think deeply if it’s worth it. “Ethical non-monogamy requires both partners to trust each other and respect boundaries (when they’re not controlling),” one person wrote. “You expressed very typical boundaries and she agreed to them only to betray you. This is cheating… You opened the relationship for HER. And she betrays you… If you let this go, she will continue to betray you. She doesn’t care and is being selfish.”
We won’t jump to major conclusions here or advocate about divorce one way or another (only the two people in the relationship can really know what’s best!), but OP’s experience definitely emphasizes the importance of boundaries and why it’s important to stick to them — or, if you break them, to consider what the consequences may be.